It’s easy to make excuses.
It doesn’t matter if it’s going to the gym or making a dentist appointment. It’s so easy to say, “I’ll start working out tomorrow” or “I’m too busy this week.”
We can come up with 1,000 reasons not to do something. As John Mulaney states with eloquent precision, it’s 100% easier not to do things than to do them. Especially when we’re supposed to do them.
This could not be truer when it comes to managing our money. Most of us are totally okay with doing the bare minimum (if that).
Raise your hand (seriously, stretch for the sky and own it) if your finances look something like this: your paychecks deposit into a checking account and….just………..sit there.
I hate to break it to you, but that’s bad money management.
If you also have a savings account and make regular transfers into it, then a light pat on the back for you. If you ALSO have a brokerage account up and running and make regular transfers into that too, then you deserve a hell yeah.
Otherwise, it’s time to recognize the excuses you’ve been using to put off organizing your money and maximizing your earnings.
If you’ve made any of these excuses, it’s time to make a change.
I don’t want to.
There are a lot of things we don’t want to do in life. Work. Exercise. Pay taxes.
Yet, we like getting money. We like being in shape. And taxes… well…nobody likes taxes (but they do serve a purpose).
Just because you don’t want to do something, doesn’t mean you don’t need to do it.
I don’t need to.
Although “I don’t want to” is a lame excuse, at least it’s honest. On the other hand, “I don’t need to” is just false. Absolute malarkey.
If you want to make the most of the limited time we have, you’ll need to reach financial independence and financial stability to do so.
So, sure, if you don’t want more free time, more independence, more control, etc., then you don’t need to get your money straight. You do you. Best of luck.
I don’t have time.
Well then make time, Mr. Grumpy Gills.
Like anything that’s good for you (exercising, reading, etc.), taking care of your finances is time well spent. Your days may be filled with other responsibilities, but are you really telling me you can’t sacrifice two or three hours a month (max) to manage your money?
Think about all the time you spend mindlessly fiddling with your phone. If you converted a quarter of that into time spent getting #educated on your finances, you’ll be way better off.
I’ll worry about it later.
You know that scene in The Blind Side where Sandra Bullock is watching Michael Oher’s practice?
The one where she springs from the bleachers, connects the “why you need to block” dots for Oher (which is kind of ridiculous when you think about it — that’s some Hollywood hyperbole right there), and tells the highschool football coach she can thank him later. And then, after the inspiring pep talk, Oher suddenly becomes a high-caliber blocker. She then turns to the coach and tells him it’s later.
Well, guess what. It’s later, Bert.
The longer you put off getting your finances in order, the more interest income you’re forfeiting. You know the difference a few years makes in terms of investing? A lot.
Let’s assume you’re 25 years old. Let’s also assume you start investing $5,000 a year in a fund that tracks the market. Fast forward 40 years later and you’re thinking about retirement. Based on the average historical rate of return of the S&P 500 (roughly 10%), you could have around $2.7 million sitting in your account.
You heard me. Seven figures. Two commas. One you.
Now, that’s by no means guaranteed (past performance is not a sufficient indicator of future returns). Plus, there are up years and down years, so we can’t say with 100% confidence that the market will be up at this particular time in 40 years.
But, based on these basic assumptions, it would not be unreasonable to suggest that you could be sitting on seven figures a few decades from now.
It’s too complicated.
Basic personal finance does not need to be complicated. Plus, what kind of reasoning is that? Just because something challenges you, doesn’t mean you should stray from it. That mindset sets a horrible precedent.
If you want to get your finances together, start here. Once you’ve read through these posts, you’ll be armed with the knowledge and action plan required to conquer your personal finances.